The Belle of Louisville hosts ‘A Belleload of Knowledge’
The Belle of Louisville hosts ‘A Belleload of Knowledge’

What do UofL faculty, students and others bring to a three-hour Ohio River tour? A “Belleload” of wide-ranging expertise to share.

The yearlong, communitywide celebration called “Afloat: An Ohio River Way of Life” has more than a dozen UofL participants aboard its Sept. 22 “A Belleload of Knowledge” cruise. Scholars, musicians and artists will speak at various stations and also roam around on the Belle of Louisville’s three decks to share their distinctive takes on Louisville’s vital waterway and learn one-on-one from others.

“A Belleload of Knowledge” serves multiple purposes, according to Afloat organizers Peter Morrin and John Begley, retired UofL fine arts faculty members and community arts executives.

“It is intended to bring together people from a wide range of disciplines – especially those who do not normally interact – and give them an opportunity to have informal conversations,” Morrin said. “It is also intended to give members of the general public access to activists, scholars and experts of all kinds who are dedicated to making a difference in the greatest historic, cultural and natural resource.”

Belleload organizers were inspired by an 1824-25 Ohio River keelboat journey known as the Boatload of Knowledge; that voyage of leading Philadelphia artists, writers and scientists floated from Pittsburgh to New Harmony, Indiana.

This month, when the Louisville landmark steamboat pulls away from the dock, 401 W. River Road, at 5 p.m. Sunday, on deck will be more than 50 scientists, artists, advocates, historians, educators, writers, preservationists, engineers and performers from all over town – along with people curious to learn more from them about the mighty Ohio.

 “UofL’s leadership is evident in the number and range of participants with affiliation to the university,” Morrin said.


Several UofL faculty members, including some of the Belleload participants, have spoken at other events marking Afloat, which “is intended to call attention to the beauty of the Ohio River, the needs of the river and its unmet potential,” Begley said.

UofL Belleload attendees and their areas of expertise include:

  • Frank Kelderman, English, Native American studies;
  • John Hale, liberal studies, archaeology;
  • Linda Fuselier, biology, river fish;
  • Tamara Sluss, urban and public affairs/sustainability, large river ecology;
  • Russ Barnett, sustainability, Salt River Watershed Watch;
  • Alan Golding, English, Transcendentalists and environment;
  • John Gibson, philosophy, Emerson’s impact on U.S. environmentalism;
  • Rachel Singel, fine arts, printmaking and Ohio River book project;
  • Mary Carothers, fine arts, environmental art and photography;
  • Mary Brydon-Miller, educational leadership, evaluation and organizational development, environmental education;
  • Margaret Carreiro, biology emeritus, ecology;
  • Jack Ashworth, music emeritus, music;
  • Patricia Sarley and Alexandra Hardy, sustainability graduate students.

The university’s Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society and UofL’s sustainability program join several museums, library and other organizations in participating; Louisville Visual Art is the sponsor.

To attend, purchase $30 tickets online. Boarding starts at 4:30 p.m.

Check out all the Afloat events at

Photo of the Belle of Louisville provided by Wikimedia.